Architecture is a great subject for an aesthete with a flair for dialectical thought. And Esther McCoy, in the collection of her writings just published by East of Borneo Books, knows how to invigorate art-for-art’s-sake hothouse subjects with a cooling blast of analytical precision. McCoy, who was in her mid-eighties when she died in 1989, has long been a hero among students of modern architecture in southern California, a subject scarcely defined until she came along.
Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50) “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.
The fortunate few who can afford Fortune were treated in the November issue to an essay by John Chamberlain on "The Businessman in Fiction." Preaching in Henry Luce's tabernacle for the already converted, Chamberlain made a fervent plea for faith in the businessman not only as the source from whom all our blessings flow, but also as a beneficent force in the culture and an admirable family man and community-conscious citizen who has been treated villainously by the ingrate novelists. Chamberlain's discussion of the novelists from William Dean Howells and Frank Norris to Norman Mailer and Hiram